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  • Writer's pictureGabriel San Roman

Lawsuit: OC Board of Supervisor Stifles Homeless Advocates' Speech

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

“Madam Chair, may I address one of the supervisors?” David Duran asked then-chair Michelle Steel a second time during an Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting on Nov. 14, 2017. Steel sighed before looking over to her fellow supervisor, Lisa Bartlett. “You can talk whatever you want, except attacking,” she warned the People’s Homeless Task Force activist. Duran addressed Steel’s presumption, returned to his prepared remarks on the Santa Ana Riverbed homeless encampment with about 30 seconds left, but ran out of time during public comments to address Bartlett directly. And even if he wanted to be disparaging in remarks, that would’ve been his First Amendment right.

The exchange is just one of many examples that the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California points to in a lawsuit filed alleging that supervisors routinely shield themselves from public criticism by unlawfully limiting free speech.

Read more on my latest OC Weekly Navel Gazing Blog post:

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